Image

Coming Soon: Into the Bright Unknown by Rae Carson

into-the-bright-unknownTitle: Into the Bright Unknown

Author: Rae Carson

Series: Gold Seer Trilogy #3

Genre: Teen Fantasy / Historical Fiction

Release Date: October 10, 2017

The Overview: Leah Westfall, her fiancé Jefferson, and her friends have become rich in the California Territory, thanks to Lee’s magical ability to sense precious gold. But their fortune has made them a target, and when a dangerous billionaire sets out to destroy them, Lee and her friends decide they’ve had enough—they will fight back with all their power and talents. Lee’s magic is continuing to strengthen and grow, but someone is on to her—someone who might have a bit of magic herself. The stakes are higher than ever as Lee and her friends hatch a daring scheme that could alter the California landscape forever. With a distinctive young heroine and a unique interpretation of American history, Into the Bright Unknown strikes a rich vein of romance, magic, and adventure, bringing the Gold Seer Trilogy to its epic conclusion. -Goodreads

Nik’s Notes:

Carson’s Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy is my all time favorite teen fantasy series, and I have to say, even though the Walk on Earth a Stranger and Like a River Glorious leaned more towards historical fiction than fantasy, I enjoyed them immensely. This author writes amazing characters, compelling plot lines, and completely immerses her readers into her stories. I have no doubt Into the Bright Unknown will be a stellar conclusion to this great series.

What book are you waiting on?

 by Niki Hawkes

Image

Book Review: Like a River Glorious by Rae Carson

September 27, 2016

Title: Like a River Glorious

Author: Rae Carson

Series: The Gold Seer Trilogy #2

Genre: Teen Fantasy [ish]

Rating: 4/5 stars

The Overview: After a harrowing journey across the country, Leah Westfall and her friends have finally arrived in California and are ready to make their fortunes in the Gold Rush. Lee has a special advantage over the other new arrivals in California—she has the ability to sense gold, a secret known only by her handsome best friend Jefferson and her murdering uncle Hiram. Lee and her friends have the chance to be the most prosperous settlers in California, but Hiram hasn’t given up trying to control Lee and her power. Sabotage and kidnapping are the least of what he’ll do to make sure Lee is his own. His mine is the deepest and darkest in the territory, and there Lee learns the full extent of her magical gift, the worst of her uncle, and the true strength of her friendships. To save everyone, she vows to destroy her uncle and the empire he is building—even at the cost of her own freedom. -Goodreads

The Review:

 Rae Carson is one of my favorite authors for the amazingness that is Girl of Fire and Thorns, which still holds the spot as the best YA Fantasy I’ve ever read. The Goldseer series, so far, has many of the same attributes that set GOFT above the rest:

  • Strong heroines who are endearingly atypical and always feel like real people.
  • Beautiful, immersive writing that will totally transport you.
  • Enough magic to drive the plot without being the sole focus.
  • Gut-wrenching moments that will Tear. Out. Your. Heart.

In fact, even more so than GOFT, the Goldseer Trilogy will hit you left and right with horrible injustices (some which make me so mad I could spit). Carson really understands conflicts and how to put her characters through hell. To be honest, it was so well done that I wondered on several occasions how I was able to enjoy the story while hating it at the same time. It never ceased to evoke emotion and make me feel engaged.

As far as the magic goes, Like a River Glorious had more magic than the first book, but not enough for me to feel confident recommending it as a fantasy verses a historical fiction. I’ve always been of the mindset that the more magic, the better, but I still enjoyed the book for all the other elements. It’s one of those stories written so well that it’ll appeal to readers of multiple genres. I’ve read a little criticism of the supposed historical inaccuracies in this book, but as someone who remembers only what I was taught in grade school about the gold rush, it was realistic enough for me. I thought she did a great job transporting me to this era and, let’s face it, I didn’t pick it up for a history lesson… Even so, the criticisms surprises me because Carson acknowledges at the back of the book that she had to take some creative liberties to streamline her story.

Anyway, Like a River Glorious was a strong sequel that could have satisfied me as a series-ender, but there’s still one book yet to come. I can’t figure out what it will entail, and find the prospect (no pun intended) of discovery really enticing. It’s a damn shame it’s going to be a year before it comes out!

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes

Image

Book Review: Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson

September 22, 2015

Title: Walk on Earth a Stranger

Author: Rae Carson

Series: The Gold Seer Trilogy #1

Genre: Teen Fantasy [ish]

Rating: 4/5 stars

The Overview: Lee Westfall has a strong, loving family. She has a home she loves and a loyal steed. She has a best friend—who might want to be something more. She also has a secret. Lee can sense gold in the world around her. Veins deep in the earth. Small nuggets in a stream. Even gold dust caught underneath a fingernail. She has kept her family safe and able to buy provisions, even through the harshest winters. But what would someone do to control a girl with that kind of power? A person might murder for it. When everything Lee holds dear is ripped away, she flees west to California—where gold has just been discovered. Perhaps this will be the one place a magical girl can be herself. If she survives the journey.

The Review:

As Rae Carson is responsible for my favorite Young Adult book of all-time, “The Girl of Fire and Thorns,” I knew I had to read everything she published next. “Walk on Earth a Stranger” had all of the elements I loved from her first series: excellent characters, fantastic settings, and immersive writing that draws you in completely. While “Girl of Fire and Thorns” will always sit on a pedestal for me, this first book in the “Gold Seer” trilogy gave it a good run.

My favorite thing about this writer is how she develops and crafts her main characters. In a market inundated with female leads who start out already good at everything, Carson’s heroines are anything but typical. It’s refreshing because these girls (Elise for “Girl of Fire and Thorns” and Lee for “Walk on Earth a Stranger”) are so much more relatable. They have flaws and insecurities like the rest of us, and experiencing how they cope with different trials celebrates their inner strength and fortitude and inspires me to overcome my own obstacles. Both leading ladies have magic, but it’s always their strength of character that gets them through the day. My favorite things about Lee in this novel are her resourcefulness and ability to make the best of some very tough situations.

Great characterization aside, another thing “Walk on Earth a Stranger” has going for it is the setting. This historical landscape immerses you in early America when the California/Oregon Gold Rush began drawing people west by the thousands. Not only was it interesting to read what came across as a well-researched timepiece, but it also made me incredibly nostalgic about things from my childhood (most notably “Little House on the Prairie” and that old “Oregon Trail” computer game I used to play in grade school… does anybody else remember that?), but represented in an edgier fashion.

I have to admit historical fiction is not my genre of choice, and even though “Walk on Earth a Stranger” had a few fantasy elements, they were nowhere near as integral to the plot as I would have liked. Well, perhaps the elements were indeed integral, they just weren’t always at the forefront. For that reason, I wouldn’t recommend this book with fantasy as a main selling point. Genre aside, at the end of the day it was still an engaging story that will have you clamoring for the next one (coming out September 27, 2016):

like a river glorious by rae carsonTitle: Like a River Glorious (Gold Seer #2) 

The Overview: After a harrowing journey across the country, Leah Westfall and her friends have finally arrived in California and are ready to make their fortunes in the Gold Rush. Lee has a special advantage over the other new arrivals in California—she has the ability to sense gold, a secret known only by her handsome best friend Jefferson and her murdering uncle Hiram. Lee and her friends have the chance to be the most prosperous settlers in California, but Hiram hasn’t given up trying to control Lee and her power. Sabotage and kidnapping are the least of what he’ll do to make sure Lee is his own. His mine is the deepest and darkest in the territory, and there Lee learns the full extent of her magical gift, the worst of her uncle, and the true strength of her friendships. To save everyone, she vows to destroy her uncle and the empire he is building—even at the cost of her own freedom.

Other books you might like:

by Niki Hawkes